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Full text of "news update, Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ, July 2013"

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Subject: Welcome our new Interim Conference Minister - Randy Hyvonen! 

From: Southeast Conference UCC ( 


Date: Thursday, July 18, 2013 9:40 AM 

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New Interim Conference Minister Called! 

The Board of Directors has called Rev. Randall Hyvonen to serve as Interim Conference Minister. Randy is an "old 
hand" at conference ministry, having served 8 years in the Pacific Northwest Conference, followed by 6 years in 
Montana-Northern Wyoming, from which he retired in 2011. Prior to that, he served in local church and 
association ministry since ordination in 1973. The Board was impressed with Randy's experience, his calm 
demeanor, and his approach to ministry. He brings specific experience in the areas of managing transitions within 
conferences, guidance of leadership and ministerial development programs, and management of conference 
finances. We think he will provide valuable support and leadership of conference staff, as well as local church 

Randy is a native of Montana and has spent most of his life in the Midwest and Northwest, except for time at 
Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville. He and his wife, Karen, will settle into temporary quarters in Atlanta after 
celebrating the 95th birthday of Karen's father in Seattle. Randy will start work in the Conference on July 24. 
(Actually, he's already meeting with staff and handling some urgent business by telephone.) He already has plans 
to visit our new church start in Pensacola his first weekend "on the job." 

Please join with the Board and me in welcoming Randy to the diversity, charm, and energy of the Southeast 

A word from Randy Hyvonen, our new Interim Conference Minister 

I'm very pleased to be called to serve as your interim Conference Minister until you 
call a Designated Conference Minister. Having attended Vanderbilt Divinity School 

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from 1969-1973, I feel that in conning to serve among you I am also reconnecting with 
parts of my own faith journey (and family history - the first of our 3 children was born 
in Nashville). And I feel additional ties with you: your previous Conference Minister, 
the late Roger Knight, succeeded me as the pastor of the inner city church I served for 
10 years in Cleveland, then retired to Uplands, where Karen and I have additional 
friends we've come to know over my years of ministry in the wider UCC. 

I hope that my experience of diverse ministries over large geographies will be 
beneficial for you as we "bridge the gap" together. And I trust that as we work 
I together, God will call us not only to uphold all that has been good about your history 
but also to grow in new ways! 


NEW Conference Website! 

New Website and Connection Program 
What's New? 

The Southeast Conference Website has a new design, 
easy access to news and events, and resizes to fit 
your screen, whether you are using a phone, iPad, 
tablet, or laptop. We'd like to make this even more 
interactive for churches in the Conference! 
Congregations can now appoint members to be 
"Social Networking Partners" with the ability to post 
news, stories, and event information directly to the 
website to promote what your community is doing 
and connect with other SEC congregations! 

How does your church get connected? 

Contact Chris Lyman Waldron at 
clwaldron(g)secucc.orq or you can call the Conference 
Office. You'll be able to sign up for training on how to 
use these exciting new tools. 

General Synod Recap 
Stories from our delegates 

Another UCC First... New Environmental 

by Debbie Spearman 

Passed by General Synod 29 delegates on Monday 
July 1st, 2013 at the Long Beach Convention Center 
was a resolution that calls for the UCC to divest of any 
Fossil Fuel companies in it's investment funds. This 
resolution is the "first of it's kind" by any national 


David Sigmund and Jay Greaves, were married at 
General Synod 29 in Long Beach, California! The 
wedding was officiated by Rev. Susannah Davis from 
Kirkwood UCC and activist Rev. Mel White. Click here 
to read more from our website. 


News from the Conference and Associations 

Conference Minister Search Report 
Southeast Conference Family, 

On behalf of the Conference Board and Search Committee, I 
thank you for your presence, input, and support expressed 
at our annual meeting in mid-June. Together, we 
experienced wonderful times of fellowship, worship, ideas 
sharing, and story-telling. To follow-up on those 
conversations and to include those who were not able to 

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faith community. Tiiis resolution calls for divestment 
by June 2018, which directly affects the strategies of 
our UCC United Church funds and the Pension Board. 
Both entities supported the resolution. 

Click here to read more 

Resolution responds to violence in Honduras 

By Carrole Moss 

A resolution calling for a response to "drug related 
gang violence in Honduras" was submitted to this 
General Synod by the Maine conference. The Maine 
Conference has worked in partnership for over a 
decade with our Honduran brothers and sisters in 
support of peace and justice. 

The Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church 
encourages the churches of the UnitedChurch of 
Christ to call on out governmental leaders to reassess 
and recreate our U. S. Foreign policy to address the 
situation of human rights violations, illegal drug 
trafficking and violence that impact the quality of life 
for all those involved. 

Click here to read more 

General Synod recognizes the need of care for 

by Jennifer Spears 

The proposed resolution "Compassionate Care and 
Healing Ministry to our Veterans" drew quite a crowd 
during the Educational Intensive on Friday, June 28th. 
Many of the members of this committee were 
veterans, like myself. The Rev. Stephen Boyd of the 
Chaplain's Office at the national level spoke at length 
about what the resolution would actually do, and that 
it had mainly in response to the huge loss of veterans 
from church life after they returned home from 
overseas tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He 
emphasized that, of the veterans who were regular 
churchgoers before they went out on combat tours, 
85 percent did not return to church when they arrived 

Click here to read more 

Restructuring Conference Boundaries or Hymn 
Singing. ..During Committee Meeting? 

By Leah Lyman Waldron 

I've had the privilege of serving as a delegate on the 

attend, I would like to share information about where we 
are in the Designated Conference Minister search process. 

As we discussed at annual meeting, the Search Committee 
has been charged with identifying, vetting, and 
recommending to the Conference a Designated Conference 

The Search Committee has been prayerfully and diligently 
working on the conference's behalf since January 2013. 
Over the last several months, we have developed a job 
description and a conference profile, and have posted the 
position on the UCC search list. Additionally, as I write this, 
several members of the committee are at the 29th UCC 
General Synod and representing the conference on this 

The job description, conference profile, and an audio file of 
our welcoming poem are available at the SECUCC website 
by clicking here. 

The Search Committee is now in the process of developing 
criteria statements and interview questions. We would love 
to receive your input on this process! To provide input, 
simply complete and submit by July 31 the related 
questionnaire by clicking here. Your input will be faithfully 
compiled, considered, and incorporated by the committee. 

We anticipate receiving candidate applications and ministry 
profiles throughout the summer, interviewing and vetting 
candidates throughout the fall, and recommending a 
Designated Conference Minister to the conference in the 

Finally, we covet your prayers during this time and invite all 
our congregations to participate together in "Second 
Sunday Search" moments. These are moments when 
congregations spend a few minutes the second Sunday of 
each month beginning July 14 to intentionally pray for the 
conference and/or include a conference-minded reading, 
meditation, or other expression of worship. The purpose of 
this is to remind us all that we are one in Christ and 
connected in ministry with each other through our 
conference relationships. Just imagine what a wonderful 
experience and outcome we can have in this process with 
our FULL conference actively engaging and inviting God into 
it! I hope that you will access related worship materials the 
Search Committee has developed by clicking here and join 
us in being Church together in this worship and 

If you have questions about the Search or want to 
recommend a potential candidate to us, please feel free to 
email me at vol . 
Thank you for your time, your prayers, and your love of our 
beloved church. 

Blessings & Peace, 

Jennifer Austin 

Search Committee Cliair 

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committee tasked witli considering General Synod 
Resolution #11, "Restructuring Conference 
Boundaries." The title is a bit misleading, as the 
resolution's purpose is really to encourage 
Conferences to have vigorous conversation about how 
to revitalize Conferences to better fulfill their missions 
and ministries as part of Christ's body in the UCC. 
Avenues for revitalization include sharing resources 
among Conferences, "out of the box" thinking about 
partnerships with other Conferences and their 
covenant partners (and even other denominations), 
and potentially reconfiguring Conference boundaries, 
all drawing on the resources and facilitative ability of 
the National Setting. Per the Constitution of the UCC, 
any reconfiguration of Conference boundaries would 
have to begin at the Conference level and later be 
approved by a future General Synod. 

Click here to read more 

For more stories about the 29th General Synod click 

Disaster Preparedness Webinar 

Are you ready if disaster strikes your 

Join the Emergency Response Team of Church World 
Service (CWS) on Tuesday, August 6, at 2 p.m. EST 
for "Disaster Preparedness," a webinar that will 
discuss important details often overlooked while 
preparing for an emergency. 

The Emergency Response Specialists will discuss what 
to expect when disaster strikes. Individuals and 
families are often not aware of the important steps 
during relief and recovery, leaving many hopeless in 
the wake of a disaster. For this reason it is important 
to know where to turn in an emergency. From 
Disaster Case Management (DCM) to Emotional and 
Spiritual Care, this webinar will inform you of the 
important details to consider, keeping you from 
becoming a disaster "victim." 

Click here to register 

Hope you can join us! 

Reflection on China and Theological Education 
by Rev. Sarah Kim 

Written in Chinese, China literally means the "Middle 
Land." The country does occupy a huge portion of the 
land in the middle of the globe with its 1.3 billion 
large population. That's four times the U.S. 
population, and 20% of the world population. 

Last May, I have had the privilege of visiting China, 
made possible by the Brown Grant (General 
Ministries, UCC) for a continuing education excursion 
that was attached to my trip to Korea, which I will 
discuss in my next report. I met our host Rev. Dr. 
Xiaoling Zhu (Global Ministries, UCC) in Beijing and 
traveled to Shanghai and Nanjing with ten members 
of the Asian Pacific Forum, a group of ecumenical 
church leaders from various locations in the U.S., who 
works with Asian partners on global ministries. 
Together we visited Yanjing Theological Seminary 
(Beijing), China Christian Council (Shanghai), and 
Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (Nanjing), to 
learn, share, and strengthen ties for collaborative 
work around theological education and church and 
social ministries. 

Click here to read more about theological education 
and China on the PATHWAYS website! 

Forward this issue 

Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ 

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Emergency Response Specialist 

CWS Global (808) 226-6432 

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